Monday, August 3, 2015
I testify that families can be together forever.
Boa Tarde minha familia linda! This week was great! We had the baptism of Thiago, who´s wife, Cida, is returning to activity. After his confirmation, their baby, Laura, was blessed. It was so sweet! This week, he and Lucas, who was baptized a couple weeks ago, will be interviewed by Bishop to receive the priesthood and limited temple recommends! Tonight, we have a family home evening with Thiago and Cida, Fatima (who Mom has talked with on Face) and Marcelo, and Maria dos Dores, another of our recent converts. Today, I went to the foot doctor with Elder Ward. Mary, the podologa, also treated my feet, which as it turns out were in need of a lot of help (LOTS of dead skin, even under my toenail, which could lead to future problems). We´ll be going back there in two weeks. This week, i have another routine visit to Dr Carmen. Our showerhead exploded again, yesterday morning. We had to buy a new resistor. Well, Dad will be very proud of me, i think. So a week ago at ward council, i proposed that we open the church to the public with events every day (except monday, of course). So far, it is a success! The schedule goes like this: Tuesday is Movie Night (church movie) Wednesday is Game Night Thursday is Family History Night Friday is Bible Study (VT) Saturday is English class and Spanish class. Bishops from both wards are very happy with the new change, and people even bore testimonies of the things they learned in my Bible Study. That, plus the miracle baptism, have everybody very excited about missionary work. The miracle baptism went like this: We were doing visits with a member of the bishopric and all of our appointments fell through. Elder Ward, following a prompting from the Spirit, asked the member, Luis, who he would like to visit. He pointed out a house where an inactive member supposedly live. This member was Cida, baptized three years ago in a different ward. During the week, we passed by and left messages with her and her husband, Thiago, about the Plan of Salvation and the temple. But, during an exchange, Elder Ward (again following the Spirit) and Elder Greenwood stopped by and taught the Restoration. It turns out that this was the first time Thiago heard this message. They challenged him to pray for a testimony, then be baptized. He accepted. The next day, we went there with Elder Greenwood and he interviewed Thiago. Thiago admitted that he hadn´t prayed and didn´t feel prepared, plus he had already planned a trip to visit his brother on Sunday. But he insisted that if he didn´t drink, he would be baptized Sunday night. Elder Greenwood warned him that he needed to resist all opposition. He gave the following example: one of his long-lost friends from the North would come to São Paulo and invite him to drink with him. So Thiago went to visit his brother and he drank. Feeling terrible, he prayed all night that night. They didn´t even answer the phone when we called. Meanwhile, we felt a warm, calming sensation, and a voice told us not to worry about it. On Monday, Cida called us while we were emailing. She told us to come by that night because Thiago had received his answer. When we arrived at their house that night, Thiago shared what had happened. First, not long after Elder Greenwood´s interview, a long-lost friend of Thiago´s from the North texted him, saying that he was in São Paulo and invited him to meet up to drink, exactly as Elder Greenwood warned would happen. Second, after his long night of praying, Thiago was out for a walk to gather his thoughts. A woman appeared alongside him and gave him an evangelical message, then walked on. He read the message. It said something along the lines of: "The time to follow Jesus is not tomorrow, nor yesterday, but today. Stop making excuses. You are always prepared to follow Christ." Thiago showed us this paper. We asked him if he would be baptized this Saturday. Immediately, without hesitation, he replied "Yes, I will be baptized.". We passed by everyday that week preparing him. He gave up coffee the day of his interview, and had not touched alcohol since last Sunday. Meanwhile, Elder Greenwood finished his mission and returned home to Winslow, Arizona. The time came for his baptism. On Friday he was interviewed again. And on Saturday, he was baptized. Elder Ward made a big chocolate cake with strawberries, and he performed the ordinance. Thiago and Cida even brought their friends to come see the baptism, only half of which were members from her previous ward. Bishop and his family, along with the Relief Society president and her family and other members were present. It was a great night. The next morning, he was confirmed and Laura was presented. Luis, the member of the bishopric who had originally pointed out their house, bore a powerful and emotional testimony about the importance of member missionary work. He had never thought that his one or two hours spent helping us could result is such a marvelous thing as another family safe in Zion. I testify that families can be together forever, and that the power of God is manifest through sacred priesthood ordinances. I am so honored to be a part of this marvelous work and a wonder. I testify of the power of the Savior in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Jardim Mirna Estaca Grajaú Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos